The group representing some 20,000 West Coast dockworkers confirmed Friday evening that its members have voted to extend their contract with shippers for another three years.
The current contract was set to expire July 1, 2019. Ratification of the contract with the Pacific Maritime Association — the group that negotiates labor agreements on behalf of shippers and terminal operators — now makes the contract good through July 1, 2022.
The early vote had been encouraged in an effort to ensure stability to the West Coast ports and avoid the slowdown that significantly impacted the flow of goods for retailers, apparel manufacturers and many other industries in 2014 and 2015 as dockworkers and shippers negotiated new terms of a labor contract.
Friday’s confirmation by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Coast Longshore division of the contract extension was largely expected when early tallies late last month showed workers voting in its favor. The final results had 67 percent of workers supporting the extension.
The contract includes raises and an increase in pensions.
The ILWU represents workers across 29 West Coast ports in California, Oregon and Washington.
“The rank-and-file membership has made their decision and expressed a clear choice,” said ILWU president Robert McEllrath. “During the past year, we saw a healthy debate and heard different points of view, with concerns raised by all sides. The democratic process allowed us to make a difficult decision and arrive at the best choice under the circumstances.”
PMA president James McKenna said at the time of the vote’s early results last month that the “West Coast waterfront has tremendous opportunity to attract more market share and demonstrate that our ports and our workforce are truly world-class” as a result of the extension.
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